Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Do politics and work mix? A poll.

Do politics and work mix? That is the question being asked at Copper Blue Restaurant.

A half-dozen employees recently quit in protest after the owner posted a "Vote NO on Issue 1" sign in front of the restaurant. The resulting staffing shortage forced its temporary closure.

Issue 1 is a Nov. 7 ballot initiative that seeks to amend the Ohio's Constitution to grant women the right to an abortion.

Not surprisingly, the issue is polarizing.

"I hate that this is how we have to end things because it's a discussion that never should've been brought up to begin with," said former Copper Blue employee Jessika Lambert. "Women deserve rights, that's the simple answer."

"The previous owners taught me two things when I started in the customer service industry," adds another former employee, Will Prescott. "That was no religion and no politics, and you'll get through the day just fine. I'm disappointed because we tried to have a conversation with the owner about it. We tried to talk to him about how we felt about it. He didn't hear from us. He didn't want to say anything to us."

The restaurant's owner, Brian Arlinghaus, released a statement, which reads in part, "I do not find fault in you for taking a stance. With regard to Issue 1, I believe the issue to be much more than simply political. This battle isn't about politics. If it were I doubt you would have such strong feelings about it."

Comments on Copper Blue's Facebook page are divided between customers who will never eat there again versus those who support the business's public stance on Issue 1.

Does Copper Blue have the legal right to post a "Vote NO on Issue 1" sign at its business? Absolutely.

But should it post such as sign? That's an entirely different question, the answer to which depends on both how strongly ownership feels about the issue and how much it worries about alienating employees and customers.

I'd love to hear your opinion in today's poll question. (And remember, this issue cuts both ways, across both sides of the aisle.)